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The Bible comes from God, but it is also the product of human authors. How do those two factors work together?

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.

Some people approach the Bible as though it were only a divine book – a book dictated by God. The humans that wrote were recording word for word what they heard God say, as clearly as if he were speaking in an audible voice. So their role was minimal. Others dismiss the idea of divine inspiration, and view the Bible as a purely human record of people’s ideas about God.

But neither of these views captures the whole picture. The Bible is a human book that real people actually wrote and edited. At the same time, it is a divine book that God himself spoke and inspired.

Think of music as an analogy. Different musical instruments have different tonal qualities. If one musician plays on different instruments, the sound will be different in each case. Even the most gifted musician can’t make a trumpet sound like a clarinet. Think of God as the musician, and each author of the Bible as an instrument. Thus the Bible is God’s words, and God’s Spirit breathes them through human authors. But the Bible is also produced through the unique personality, culture, historical setting, and personal experiences of each individual author.

2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

The fact that God was speaking through human authors doesn’t mean it wasn’t also the authors speaking. And even though the words were their words, it’s still God’s words we hear when we read them.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Read 2 Timothy 3:16. What does “inspired by God” mean? What is the Holy Spirit’s role in writing Scripture?
  4. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. How does this explain the relationship between the divine and human authors?
  5. Explain the “dictation” model of inspiration? What is the problem with this understanding?
  6. Does the analogy of a musician with different musical instruments help you understand how the Bible is inspired? Explain.
  7. Since the Bible comes from God, what role does the Bible play as an authority in our lives?
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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